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The actions of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Rajasthan, which is a central agency accused....

The actions of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Rajasthan, which is a central agency accused of selectively targeting Opposition leaders.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has conducted searches at the premises of Rajasthan Congress president Govind Singh Dotasra and independent MLA Om Prakash Hudla.

The ED's investigation is based on cases filed by the Rajasthan police regarding the alleged leak of a competitive examination paper.

The ED has also summoned Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's son Vaibhav Gehlot in a foreign exchange violation case.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has implemented new welfare schemes and united the Congress party, challenging the perception that incumbent governments usually get voted out in the state.

The Congress has accused the BJP of frustration and termed the ED's actions as a sign of the BJP's frustration.

The BJP's claim that all ED actions are to root out corruption is questionable due to the lack of even-handedness and impartiality.

The ED's enthusiasm in pursuing political corruption fluctuates and it seems to only suspect corruption in Opposition-ruled States and leaders opposed to the BJP.

The BJP has benefited from large-scale defections of elected representatives in recent years.

Agencies should do their job and enforce the law, but when the rule of law is weaponized against political opponents, it undermines governance and democracy.

Taking action against political players in the midst of an election could potentially tilt the scales.

The current legal regime for fighting corruption is becoming arbitrary and is used to intern those who are inconvenient for the ruling party.

The flaws in using GDP as a measure of economic success and highlights the challenges faced by the Indian economy, such as job scarcity, poor education and health, unlivable cities, a broken judicial system, and environmental damage.

  • India's GDP growth in the April-June quarter was announced to be 7.8% annually, with predictions of it accelerating to 8%.

  • However, focusing on GDP as a measure of economic success is flawed as it hides inequalities and ignores issues such as job scarcity, poor education and health, unlivable cities, a broken judicial system, and environmental damage.

  • India, as the poorest of the major economies, should be growing at a faster rate, but it has failed to consistently do so.

  • GDP growth has actually slowed sharply over the past two decades, mainly due to weak mass demand.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated these issues.

  • Indian GDP grew at an annual 9% rate in the mid-2000s due to high world trade growth.

  • Growth slowed to 6% after the global financial crisis of 2007-08.

  • GDP growth fell to about 4.5% by 2012-13, but jumped in the next three years due to a data revision.

  • The slowdown resumed after demonetisation and the botched GST rollout.

  • GDP growth came down to 3.9% in the year before the pandemic.

  • Expenditure on Indian products grew at a mere 1.9% in the pre-COVID year.

  • By averaging income and expenditure growth, GDP grew by 2.9% in the pandemic year.

  • The slowdown in GDP growth reflected severe weakness in demand.

  • Private corporate fixed investment dropped from 17% of GDP in 2007-08 to 11% in 2019-20.

  • Private corporations cut back investments due to limited purchasing power of domestic consumers and limited foreign demand for Indian goods.

  • The economy has experienced fluctuations in the post-COVID-19 years, with periods of sharp falls, modest recoveries, severe slowdowns, and a dead cat bounce in late-2022.

  • The average growth rate over the entire post-COVID period is important to assess the economy, but it is not straightforward. Comparing the latest four quarters to the four quarters before COVID, the annual growth rate is 4.2%. However, comparing only the latest quarter to the quarter before COVID, the annual growth rate is just above 2%.

  • Private corporate investment has dropped to 10% of GDP in 2021-22, indicating weak demand. Analysts believe that it has remained weak in 2022-23 as well. The majority of Indians can barely afford necessities, while rich Indians are buying luxury goods.

  • Producers are offering ultra-low price staples but selling them in smaller quantities due to shrinking mass affordability.

The government has implemented a year-long free grain program for nearly three-fifths of the population, which is expected to continue until the 2024 general elections.

  • Households have reduced their savings rates to 5.1% of GDP, down from 11.9% in 2019-20, in order to maintain consumption. Those eligible for credit cards are accumulating high levels of debt.

  • Indian exports have been falling due to an overvalued rupee and slow

world trade.

  • There is a need to bolster demand in order to address the post-COVID demand weakness.

  • Government policy has focused on increasing supply rather than boosting demand through measures like creating good jobs, investing in human capital, and improving cities.

  • The corporate tax cut, PLI schemes, and infrastructure development have not been successful in reviving corporate investment.

  • Increased reliance on indirect taxes has further weakened demand by eroding purchasing power.

  • A realistic analysis suggests a medium-term annual GDP growth forecast of 3%-4%.

  • The narrative of "high growth" perpetuated by the domestic elite and international media will continue, despite the reality of slower growth.

  • The clash between narrative and reality can lead to tragic consequences.

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